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tv   BBC World News  PBS  April 5, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. ♪ >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations.
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what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc world news." >> time to talk. laurent gbagbo talks about terms to surrender in the ivory coast. leaving libyans to die. accusing nato failing to stop deadly tanks by forces in misrata. another day of bloodshed in yemen. hundreds have died in ongoing anti-government protests. welcome to bbc news, forecast to our viewers on pbs in america and also around the world. coming up, containing the crisis, japanese officials say they've stopped radioactive water leaking from the damaged nuclear power plant into the sea. the clock is ticking. president obama warns of a government shutdown after failing to strike a budget bill.
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♪ >> hello there. talks are continuing to try to convince laurent gbagbo to give up the presidency of ivory coast. there have been reports he's close to surrendering, but in an interview on french television, he insisted he won last year's election and not alassane ouattara. hundreds of civilians have died in the past few days after being caught up in the fighting between rival forces. the french government says a cease-fire is now in force in abidjan and the situation appears to be quiet. andrew harding is there for us and sent this report. >> battle weary. we found these troops resting at a petrol station in abidjan this morning. no one in the shattered city has had much sleep these past five days.
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this is the invading army fighting to instore ivory coast elected president. abruptly a radio announcer declares the battle is over. laurent gbagbo refusing to give up power here is preparing to surrender. the news digested cautiously at first. if you say it's too late, well, it's too late. it will be too late. not only for me, but for the ivory coast. i'm not a calm causesy -- i'm not a kamakazi. i love life. i love life. my voice is the voice of the martyr. no, no, no, i do not seek death. it's not my goal here to die. this was the final straw for mr. gbagbo.
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the united nations joining a furious bombardment of his compound. trapped in the cellar, his generals defecting, a berlin moment in an african city. but the man leading the attack tells me there's nothing to celebrate. he should have gone before, says the colonel. but instead waits until all these people have been killed. only now he thinks it's the time to quit. he's abandoned. he lost the elections. he must go. so is it really over? we head cautiously into a ghost town. then we spot a group of civilians, in abidjan you don't move outside without your arms raised. another small group of civilians here walking out of the city center. and as you can see, they're
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raising their hands in the air. the fear still very strong here. they're concerned about the military groups, the mercenaries that have caused so much trouble looting and with indiscriminate killing in the past few days. by the roadside, a reminder, every few yards, that the price the city has paid. we're afraid, he says. that's why we raise our hands. we have no water, nothing, the city is dead. we've walked far to find water. the victors prepare to set out on patrol to restore order across the city. but how long will that take? one soldier tells me quietly, now is the time for revenge. it's been a short war. it's nearly over. but the dangers have not passed. andrew harding, bbc news,
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abidjan. >> the united nations assistant secretary-general for human rights spent the last few days traveling through ivory coast to assess the situation and joins us on the line now from abidjan. thank you very much for joining us on bbc news. do you know what the current situation is with laurent gbagbo? >> the situation is still deeply disturbing. i was in the west of the country where we were managed to identify two sides of serious crimes that were committed between the second half of march and the end of march. in the first incident about a hundred deaths, in the second one, about 230. it is unclear who is exactly the perpetuator.
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but it is noticeable. that victims were of the different ethnic group and political affiliation than troops that were in the control of the area. so it was one ethnic group targeted at one incident, at a second incident that has caused 230 deaths. it's our approximation was -- the victims were of the other ethnic group. still a lot of displaced persons. they were around catholic church. still about 18,000 persons. the number is decreasing but quite slowly. also, we have heard reliable information that in the vicinity of a city further
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west, there are still some -- about a hundred dead bodies that are scattered around that have not yet even been collected. as for -- >> do you have any knowledge about whether or not laurent gbagbo has surrendered or any of his aides close to him? >> i just arrived from the airport through abidjan. the town is relatively quiet. however, we do have some information that there is a lot of looting going on. so there are two main fears, one is general security and the other one is retaliation. as for gbagbo is concerned, we do not, at least i newly arrived in abidjan, do not have yet a confirmation on his whereabouts. >> how do you think civilians in the ivory coast are going to
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be able to build a route to stability given the humanitarian situation is as grave as you're describing it? >> there is just only one way out. the country has during its troubled history passed through a couple vicious cycles of retaliation. now, what has to be done right now is to follow the truth and reconciliation part. i'm very glad that human rights council has decided to establish an international, independent, and impartial commission of inquiry, and they will submit their report by mid june. so i think this is the way forward, establishment of responsibility, punishing responsible but not threatening to others.
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i think this is the only way for this rich country to recover and to have coffee and croissants instead of suffering. >> we appreciate your time. thank you for joining us. the united nations assistant secretary-general for human rights. well, to find out more about the conflict in ivory coast, you can help to our website where you'll find the latest news and analysis, including a question and answer section explaining what the fighting is about and who is fighting for what cause, and indeed what is the future. and that does indeed remain uncertain, but news from our correspondent there on the ground. the libyan rebel leader accused nato of acting too slowly against colonel qaddafi's forces leaving people in misrata facing possible extermination. nato says air strikes reduced the government's capabilities
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by nearly a 1/3 but the weaponry has been deliberately moved to civilian areas to use them as shields. in a moment, daniel griffith reports how this affects qaddafi's grip on power. but first another report from the rebel front line, the eastern oil port. >> anti-qaddafi forces bursting this morning. two government vehicles ablaze on the outskirts of brega. this is close to the front line and these two cars with the heavy machine guns mounted on the back were reportedly hit in a nato air strike. live ammunition lay everywhere as rebel forces hoping to advance towards the oil town of brega cleared the road. but there were quickly forced back in dramatic fashion. heavy fighting erupted at the road junction near the entrance of the city. dozens of rockets and shells landed perilously close to our position, forcing us and the rebel army into retreat.
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this is still a largely ill disciplined and poorly equipped rebel army. again and again they were forced backwards towards the relative safety. in the rebel controlled city of benghazi, efforts are being made to train and equip the ragtag rebel army. without the protected cover of nato air strikes which are less frequent than they once were would certainly be overcome by colonel qaddafi's superior forces. but for now a rather fluid situation prevails on the front line between brega and astabia. heavy fighting continued here all day. shells and mother arlanding very close to our position, forcing us and the rebel army into a hasty retreat. on the evidence of today's fighting, it would seem colonel qaddafi's army is the one making ground. bbc news, brega. >> colonel qaddafi supporters have good reason to celebrate. coalition air strikes have only been a partial success.
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rebel advances have slowed. the battle for libya has settled into stalemate. and what of the colonel himself? the bbc program has been speaking to one man who knows him well. he used to be libya's ambassador to the u.n. before he defected to the rebels. >> you said that you heard reports he's not well. what physically, mentally, what? >> mentally i think -- the problem inside the familiar qaddafi is completely divided. the last information i have this morning from libya and from other arab countries that qaddafi is suffering. he is insane. >> recent high profile defections haven't helped the libyan leader, none more so than this man. moussa koussa was often at qaddafi's side. the former minister and former
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intelligence chief knows the regime's darkest secrets. he fled libya for britain where the authorities say he's being debriefed. not so says his old friend. >> frankly speaking, i was really upset about what happened to moussa koussa. he is arrested by the british authorities. why? >> he's being protected. >> no, never. >> and he's talking to officials. >> no, please. i don't believe that. >> has he told you he's been arrested? has he told you he's been arrested? >> yes. >> have you spoken to him? >> yes, i speak to him every day three or four times, he's under arrest. >> colonel qaddafi's grip on the west of libya is still strong. weeks after this conflict began, there's still no sign of how it will end. daniel griffith, bbc news. >> still to come on bbc news,
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yemen's anti-government protests claim another three victims. more than a hundred people have now lost their lives there. the death of a man joining the g-20 protests in london has heard an apology from the police officer who pushed him to the ground minutes before he died. simon told the jury he was sorry for any actions that may have contributed to ian thomas' death in 2009. with the details, here's june kelly. >> he was of the heart of what has become the most controversial episode of the g-20 protests. today constab you will -- today the constabul told what he knew. he was not involved in the g-20 protests. on that spring evening he constantly came up against police officers as he tried to get home. he'd been drinking.
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constabulhar wood said he was obstructing the police line moving forward. he told the court, i struck mr. tomlinson on the upper half of his leg and thigh with my baton. from the side we see the officer's baton going in. he says, i did not get any immediate reaction from mr. tomlinson. i then pushed him in the top part of his right shoulder. he said he was amazed at what he described as the push that caused tomlinson to fall. he said his actions were meant as an encouragement to move. the officer was asked, was he a threat to you? he replied, not to me, no. to anyone else, he said, i do not believe so. so the jury have now heard firsthand from the key witness about events at this spot two years ago. simon harwood told them if it's the case i have in any way caused his death, then i am very sorry. tomlinson's family said rather
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than wanting to help them, the officer only wanted to help himself. he accused him of exaggerating and telling untruths. simon will be back in the witness box tomorrow. june kelly, bbc news, central london. you're watching bbc news. good to have you with us. a reminder of the headline this is hour, talks continue in ivory coast to try to secure the surrender of besieged president laurent gbagbo. the libyan rebel leader accused nato of failing to stop attacks of qaddafi forces in misrata. the operator of the damaged fukushima nuclear plant in japan said it managed to stop the leak of highly radioactive water into the sea. the leak was caused by a crack in the wall of the concrete pit. engineers from the tokyo electric power company have been struggling to stop the flow for several days. a correspondent in tokyo explains how they managed to
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stop the leak. >> well, they injected what they call liquid glass, that's sodium silicate and is used in car maintenance and injected that into the layer of stones and soil beneath the concrete maintenance pit. quite a lot of it, about 1,500 liters. and they say that that appears to have stopped the flow of highly radioactive water into the ocean. however, radiation and contaminated water is still going into the sea. because of the operation to pump 11,500 tons of less contaminated water into the ocean, that's still going on. >> what do we know the runoff from the plant prior to this stopping of the leak had been the source of extremely highly radioactive iodine. we were hearing reports it was 4,000 times the legal limit there. has the government as a consequence given any further advice to the japanese people regarding any healthful safety issues? >> they're saying there's no
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immediate risk to human health of this radiation in the sea. what they've done is set new limits for radiation in fish. they're about the same level -- they are at the same level now as limits that have been set for vegetables. and the health experts say you'd have to eat an enormous amount of those products. even the same amount of radiation exposure you get in a c.t. scan. but certainly fishermen from up and down the northeast coast, they're concerned. the japanese are pretty obsessed with food safety, so the chances are that people are going to be reluctant to buy things like fish from areas near near -- anywhere near the plant for the foreseeable future. >> what's the latest news regarding the fact that tetco managed to plug this league due in terms of how people are feeling there. a lot of criticism has been levied at tetco for not actually managing to control the situation. is this going to go some way to make the japanese people feel a bit better about the situation?
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>> i think it's very early days. what they've done is stop a leak of very highly radioactive water into the ocean. but the underlying problem remains. they need to keep spraying water on to the reactors to stop them from overheating, to stop them from melting down. so all the time more water is being put into that plant. but by stopping this leak it might make it easier for the workers to actually start to try to make the cooling systems work again at the plant. and that could make them a step closer to solving the problem. but experts here warn it could be months before this reactor is fully under control. >> the report from tokyo. there's growing anger about the united nations piling pressure on the country's president to stand down. the three people were killed in the capital tuesday between clashes of pro and anti-government supporters. they've also been renewed
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clashes in the yemeni city of taze. our correspondent is not being named in the yemeni capital for their own safety. >> there is a lot of anger and frustration. demonstrators marched in the streets of the capital, calling the president to resign. these soldiers were there to protect them. these are troops loyal to the general who joined the opposition. clashes with the pro government supporters started further down the road. it's impossible to tell who fired the first bullet. each side is blaming the other. more than 100 people have died in yemen since this crisis first began two months ago. across the country, doctors and nurses say they're running out of supplies. violence in the meantime seems to be rising.
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on monday, at least 17 people died in clashes south of the capital and in hudata near the red sea. in theory, the president decided to step down but time of his resignation haven't been worked out. protesters want him to go now. he wants to go on his own terms. the diplomats say his family members, many of whom hold powerful positions are putting pressure on him to stay. yemen's neighbors saudi arabia, has offered to mediate between the sides. but in the meantime, with many here hoped would be a peaceful revolution is turning bloody. bbc news, yemen. >> the nigerian president has said delaying last saturday's general election was the best option. the votes were postponed for a second time when staff and paperwork failed to appear at polling stations.
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the president told the bbc the voters must not be put off by the problems and should go to the polls. >> there are regrets what happened and the money spent. the sacrifice will show. but let me assure them the elections will be credible and i plead to them to go out in numbers to decide who should be members of their house of the president, who should be a senator on saturday. come out for the parliamentary elections. if you have a bad parliament you can't have a good government. you must elect a good parliament so you'll have a good government. >> the president telling the voters they shouldn't be deterred by a second postponement of the elections
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in nigeria. president barack obama made a dramatic intervention for the budget and said it would inexcusable to not reach a deal before friday's deadline. when the leaders and president obama failed to reach a budget deal, the negotiations stalled over legislation to fund the daily operations of u.s. federal agencies with the republicans demanding greater spending cuts. with the details from washington, steve kingston. >> a self styled republican young gun with a big idea, to slash the deficit on an unprecedented scale. >> we propose to cut $6.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years from the president's budget. we reduced the debt as a percent of the economy. we put the nation on the path to actually pay off our national debt. our goal here is to leave our children and our grandchildren with a debt-free nation. >> but that bold pledge is built on a controversial
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foundation. the restructuring of medicare, government funded health care for the elderly. in time the republicans want to move away from the state paying directly for treatments but instead introduce federal subsidies for private health insurance. in a waterlogged washington today, some visitors to the cherry blossom festival interpreted the republican plan as an attack on the elderly. >> they're the ones that helped build this country. they're the ones that went to europe in world war ii and the far east and things to help maintain what we strive to have here. >> they should take care of the elderly because we worked our way and we've had all of our time. >> by proposing such radical cuts, the republicans say that answering history's call, starting a conversation that will define america for generations. but there is another budget debate taking place here this week, and it's a lot more pressing. >> for months the president and his opponents have failed to
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reach agreement on a budget for this year. the white house today said cuts of $33 billion are possible. some republicans want nearly double that. if they can't compromise by friday night, the government will shut down. >> it would be inexcusable for us to not be able to take care of last year's business. keep in mind we're dealing with a budget that could have gotten done three months ago, could have gotten done two months ago, could have gotten done last month when we are this close simply because of politics. >> neither side wants to rewind to 19935 when -- 1995 when the government shutdown and saw the grand canyon close its gates and federal buildings fall sigh
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